Coleraine Visit – 18 & 19 October 2018
Heather Begarnie, Stuart Aitken, Allan Goldie and I (Audrey) had an early start last Thursday (18th)! Heather, Stuart and I because we were booked on the 7.10 flight to Belfast; Allan, because he went way beyond the call of duty to drive us there!!
We had a fascinating and purposeful time at Causeway Coast Vineyard in their Hope Centre (their ‘transformation centre’ charity). Their bold vision statement is:
“A transformed and thriving community where poverty is unacceptable and uncommon.”
We had anticipated spending time with David (Stuart’s opposite number in Operations & Development, and also his university friend), to see a couple of the projects in action and perhaps the opportunity to chat to one or two of the other leaders. In actuality David had arranged a full programme for us from 10am – 5pm Thursday and 9am – 4pm Friday. These involved several hours with David himself, and an hour each with 7 other area or project leaders, giving us a good overall view. We also saw 5 aspects of the projects in operation and were able to chat to some of the clients.
All the staff were very open about the joys and also the challenges and some sorrows they’ve faced along the way.
More important perhaps than any of the projects was seeing their underlying vision and values being lived out at every level we encountered. In particular the values we saw and experienced were:
- Generosity & Grace that pervaded everything
- Culture Of Honour in practice in such a way that it was beautifully exemplified at every level
- The reality of people being placed correctly – doing jobs they could love and the enthusiasm, energy and excellence that this facilitated.
These four aspects all work together in a positive, upward spiral 🙂
They have worked hard, are having an impact, but still know they have a long way to go to fulfil the vision of “poverty being unacceptable and uncommon”; however they are in this for the long haul, asking – ‘what will Coleraine look like in 100 years’!!
We are so grateful to God for the opportunity we had, coming at just the right time in our own development. More than the specific projects, we’ve come back with an understanding of the value of a clear and concise vision; that Kingdom values can become embedded just like the words in a stick of rock can be found wherever the stick is broken; and last but not least, we found new friends and have the sense that the relationship forged is going to be significant in God’s purposes.
As you can see – much for us to think about and process. Please pray for us as we do that, that we won’t miss anything that was on God’s heart for us here. We are all more than happy to answer questions.
Audrey, Heather, Stuart.